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Monday, August 23, 2004

Munch's "Scream" Stolen; Oops, They Did It Again!

"No, I don't want to leave my nice museum!"
Image from the Munch Museum

For the second time, a version of the famous painting, and a lesser known work were taken while on display. Armed thieves/art lovers stole two Edvard Munch paintings from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway on Saturday. With the museum open and attended, the two thieves threatened one guard at gunpoint and removed "The Scream" and "Madonna" from their walls. It appears that the paintings were cut from their frames after their theft. The New York Times reports, "...Two hours later, less than a mile away, the police found shattered wooden frames and glass from the stolen works - a discovery that caused art experts to fear that the two treasures might already have been damaged."

Satirical newssite Brokennews reports, "'...They all just stood there like a bunch of bug-eyed goons, with their pie holes hanging open and their hands clamped to their cheeks,' said Oslo Police spokesman Kjell 'Yogi' Yorgessen. 'I realize that the power of the work inheres in its depiction of primal anguish through the eternal silent scream of the wraithlike solitary figure on the bridge, but come on people, this is real life! You wanna be heard, you gotta bust a lung!'"

Many ideas are floating around as to the motivation behind the theft. Some are speculating that the works may be ransomed, as was the case with another version of "The Scream" that had been stolen. Others think that the thieves were commissioned by an individual to procure the paintings for a private collection. And finally, one of thieves was rumored to have said they just wanted to round out their collection of related merchandise and hang the work next to the mug, the necktie, and inflatable punching bag.

"Madonna," the second stolen painting.
Image from the Munch Museum

While possible, a theft of that nature would be unlikely in Las Vegas. Both the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum and Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art benefit from augmented security from their respective casinos. The Guggenheim has redundant video surveillance that streams video to both a museum and casino security station. And most people find it impossible to leave the Bellagio without a visit to their buffet; seriously, the crab legs are great!

posted by Mr. Kimberly at


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